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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

Junior G Wade Taylor IV (4) covers his face after a missed point during Texas A&Ms game against Arkansas on Feb. 20, 2024 at Reed Arena. (Jaime Rowe/The Battalion)
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Ali Camarillo (2) waiting to see if he got the out during Texas A&Ms game against UIW on Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2024 at Olsen Field. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)
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Dr. Weston Porter (top left) and researchers from the breast cancer lab. (Photo courtesy of Dr. Weston Porter)
New A&M research initiative provides cutting-edge cancer treatments
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It has been 20 months since Michelle Pozzi, Ph.D, of Texas A&M’s Biochemistry and Biophysics department was diagnosed with cancer. However,...

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Light Middleweight boxers Francis Cristal and Frank Chiu throw crosses during Farmers Fight Night on Thursday, April 4th, 2024, at Reed Arena.
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Students, residents commemorates Eid Al-Fitr
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This year's Eid Al-Fitr celebration, hosted by Texas A&M’s Muslim Student Association, or MSA, drew over 1,500 attendees on Wednesday,...

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Student housing located right outside off campus boundaries on George Bush Drive. 
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Ben Crockett, Guest Contributor • April 11, 2024

City Council, As representatives of the Texas Aggie Classes of 2024, 2025, 2026 and 2027, we write to you today to urge a reconsideration...

Players to watch: Tennessee

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Chris Swann/The Battalion

Junior DL Fadil Diggs (10) celebrates after sacking Alabama QB Jalen Milroe (4) during Texas A&M’s football game against Alabama at Kyle Field on Saturday, Oct. 7, 2023. (Chris Swann/The Battalion)

Texas A&M football won’t get much rest after a loss to No. 11 Alabama at Kyle Field last week, as a road matchup with No. 19 Tennessee sits on the horizon. The Aggies will look to right the ship against the Volunteers on Saturday, Oct. 14, in Knoxville, Tennessee.
This marks only the third meeting between the two teams since A&M joined the SEC in 2012, with the Maroon and White coming out on top in 2016 and 2020. Here are some players to keep an eye on at Neyland Stadium this weekend.
Dylan Sampson, Tennessee running back
Sampson is at the forefront of the conference’s top rushing offense with six touchdowns on the ground and one through the air this season. Tennessee leads the SEC with 231.2 rushing yards per game, a mark that’s good for seventh in the nation as well.
With 36 carries, the sophomore isn’t one of the Volunteers’ most-used running backs. That would be junior Jaylen Wright and senior Jabari Small, with 61 and 53 carries, respectively. However, Sampson is the one that Tennessee will turn to when it needs to score, as evidenced by his touchdown total. For comparison, Wright and Small have combined for just three touchdowns.
Maybe more impressive than Sampson’s average of 6.9 yards per carry is the fact that he has not lost yardage on any of his 36 carries this season. He also averages 16 yards per catch, making him a dynamic piece of Tennessee’s offense.
Moose Muhammad III, A&M wide receiver
It seems like A&M fans are waiting for Muhammad to truly arrive this season after leading the Aggies with four receiving touchdowns in 2022. The junior showed what he was capable of in A&M’s final game of the season, a 38-23 upset win over No. 6 LSU, with five receptions for 94 yards and a touchdown. That included multiple acrobatic one-handed grabs that caught the attention of the college football world.
This season, though, Muhammad hasn’t been able to match that same level of production. He’s had at least one catch in each game to total 12 receptions for 119 yards. His only touchdown of the year came in the season-opener against New Mexico.
The Maroon and White boast many talented receivers, including graduate Ainias Smith, sophomore Evan Stewart and sophomore tight end Jake Johnson. It’s understandable that Muhammad may not have the same number of catches as last season given the increased depth, but he’s still a valuable option that should be utilized on offense.
Aaron Beasley and Elijah Herring, Tennessee linebackers
Look out for the linebackers on Saturday. While A&M is tied for first in the country in tackles for loss per game with 9.5, Tennessee is right behind with 9.4. Opposite the Aggies’ duo of junior Edgerrin Cooper and freshman Taurean York is the Volunteers’ tandem of Beasley and Herring.
Beasley leads the way with a team-high 33 tackles after pacing the Volunteers in that stat a year ago. The senior is a force behind the line of scrimmage with 8.5 tackles for loss, two of which were sacks for a loss of 19. Beasley has two pass breakups as well, demonstrating a huge threat to opposing quarterbacks. The sophomore Herring is right behind him with 30 tackles, including two for a loss, plus a quarterback hurry.
A&M sophomore quarterback Max Johnson was sacked five times by Alabama while the Aggies’ running backs picked up just 74 yards. Both the run game and the offensive line will need to show improvement against Tennessee, but that won’t be an easy task with Beasley and Herring manning the defense.
Fadil Diggs, A&M defensive lineman
Diggs represents one of many key components to the Aggies’ powerful defensive front. Alongside the likes of sophomore Walter Nolen and junior Shemar Turner, Diggs has racked up 18 tackles, including five for loss and two sacks. In spite of his 6-foot-5, 260-pound frame, the junior plays with great athleticism in navigating around opposing offensive linemen.
The Volunteers will present arguably the top rushing attack the Aggies will face all season behind the trio of Wright, Small and Sampson. Thankfully for A&M, it brings the No. 8 rushing defense in college football to the table, holding opponents to 84 yards per game. That effort has stepped up in conference action, with the Aggies’ opponents managing just 69.7 rushing yards per game. In the past two matchups, Arkansas and Alabama ran for just 42 and 23 yards, respectively.
If it wants to come out on top this weekend, A&M can’t afford for its defense to take the day off. The good news is the Aggies have a score of playmakers on the defensive line, highlighted by Diggs. His presence is felt beyond the box score, as he is a veteran on the line with leadership and experience.

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